§ 15. Mr. Pentland
asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms his Department has contacted during the past twelve months in order to try to encourage them to come to the northern region.
§ Mr. J. Rodgers
The Board of Trade has suggested to fifteen firms in the past twelve months that the northern region would be suitable for their proposed development, and at least two are understood to be developing there.
§ Mr. Pentland
In the light of the present situation in north-east England, about which we have heard so much this afternoon, does not the hon. Gentleman think that this is a very disappointing state of affairs? Will not he agree that there is a need for further expansion of industry in the area? Will he tell us in greater detail what he proposes to do? Is he aware that unemployment in the North-East is once again becoming a frightening word to all our people? What does he propose to do about it?
§ Mr. Rodgers
The rate of unemployment in the northern region in October was 2.8 per cent. compared with 2.3 per cent. for the rest of the country. Industrial development certificates have been issued to a further twelve firms which took the initiative in approaching us.